New see-through plastic boxes helping protect health workers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Medical providers are already calling this see-through plastic box the new line of defense for health workers when it comes to treating patients during the global health crisis.

"Now they could get the additional protection of keeping the virus to this box so that it does not air out into the environment," says Dr. Athira Nair with the UCSF School Of Medicine.

It's called an aerosol box.

The reusable plastic box covers a patient's head and face, allowing doctors and other medical staff an extra layer of protection when they reach inside to incubate someone for a ventilator without fear of being sprayed with respiratory droplets.

"The cost price for this material is about $120 to $140 for the original prototype," Dr. Nair said. "Our emergency physicians needed bigger and wider, so that drives it up to about $160."

Dr. Nair got the idea after seeing a similar item used in Asia.

Next, she enlisted the help of her neighbor, Jay Russell, a retired UPS worker, to come up with a prototype

"She's like, 'What do you think,'" he said. "I'm like, 'I don't do plastic. I'm a woodworker. I don't do metal, I don't do plastic.'"

But Russell eventually signed on for the project.

The two would go on to produce five of these aerosol boxes that are now being used on patients at Community Regional Medical Center.

"We have doctors writing wills because who's going to take care of their child," Dr. Nair said. "You have someone doing a procedure on you and having those thoughts, it's probably not the best. This box gives you additional support and protection for the person doing the procedure to not think of those things. And to truly think they're being protected."

The two say they never built these boxes to make money, but rather they're happy knowing the product of their hard work and dedication is being used to help save lives during the pandemic.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.